Types of Basketball Shoes – Everything You Need to Know

Basketball shoes have surpassed the boundaries of just the courts. They’re highly modish footwear cherished by basketball stars and the must-have accessory when a fresh pair makes it to the stores. You might already know why basketball shoes are unrivaled and the various designs they are retailed in, but do you know what types of basketball shoes you should be wearing? 

The world of basketball sneaker styles is vast; however, they all come down to five distinct categories: low-tops, mid-tops, high-tops, outdoor, and indoor basketball shoes. Each type of shoe either renders different benefits or serves a specific playing style or court requirements.

Though many won’t count the last two as distinct categories, we think they are dedicatedly built for their particular niche and thus should be classified separately. For instance, outdoor basketball shoes are specially designed to serve wearers on dusty courts and in no way similar to usual high-top, low-top, or mid-top shoes. The guide below will help you choose the right type to match your playing style.

Types of Basketball Shoes

High-top Basketball Shoes 

High-top shoes are the heaviest kind of basketball shoes you can prefer to wear. As the name suggests, high-tops are footwear that extends slightly over the wearer’s ankle, giving the ankle considerable support and coverage against hits. 

They offer absolute ankle defense but diminish your ability to achieve the best possible pace, affecting the player’s potential to react in a rapid break situation. Despite the shortcoming, High-top basketball shoe type is great for players who jump for most of the game. 

The best high-top basketball sneakers deliver the maximum shock resistance that any shoe type can, especially for the heel-ankle area. The table below tells how high-tops, mid-tops, and low-tops compete to provide the best ankle support. 

Type of Basketball Shoes

Ankle Support 


Best support for the ankle. The elongated back serves as an ankle-backbone and allows for sufficient cushioning along the talus bone.


Decent support for the ankle. The average-sized back sits right at the ankle. 


Insufficient support for the ankle. The back barely reaches the ankle. 

Mid-top Basketball Shoes

The Mid-top type of basketball shoes are often confused with the slightly bigger high-tops, typically extending higher than the wearer’s ankle. The type of basketball shoes we are discussing sits right at your ankle, which provides a player the ability to stride better. 

The not-too-high back support length keeps the ankles flexible while still giving some ankle support, though not as much as high-tops. These shoes are ideal for players who want to have rapid changes in speed and regular jumping.

If you are the small forward of your team and the high-top type isn’t fitting you too well, mid-tops are precisely what will serve you adequately. They are comparatively light, which is mainly why you can play about the game court pretty quickly. 

Low-Top Basketball Shoes 

The low-top basketball sneaker type provides wearers the least amount of ankle support of all the basketball shoes. They are a little bit trimmed version of the mid-top style and end under the ankle. Many people end up confusing tennis shoes with basketball’s low-tops, but in reality, the two have different constructions. 

Shoes that are dedicatedly built for basketball are equipped off more cushioning and shock-absorbing elements than tennis shoes. Basketball shoes also have a thick cushioned midsole, adding more weight compared to other types of shoes.

However, the low-tops are the lightest type of basketball shoes. This is precisely why they allow players to make more rapid movements than shoe types but do not provide enough support for jumping.

Low-top sneakers are an excellent choice for those on guard and can compromise on sufficient ankle support for achieving the best possible fluidity in court.

Outdoor and Indoor Basketball Shoes 

Though basketball is an indoor sport, it mostly takes place in outdoor settings, and for that, specially designed outdoor basketball shoes are required. Outdoor courts tend to inflict more damage on the outsole than indoor courts do. With being hard on the shoes, rough court floors can be hard on the player’s feet.

Shoes that are specially designed for outdoor games help minimize the floor’s harshness for themselves as well as the wearer’s feet.  These shoes are just like regular indoor basketball shoes but with heavy tractions on the outsole and a much more durable body than any other shoe might have. They are better at providing a solid grip and are meant to be the most comfortable basketball shoes

Things to Consider before buying – How to Choose the Best Basketball Type for Yourself? 

If only the looks drive you crazy for wearing basketball shoes, then you pick the type that has the style you desire to have. However, if you search for a super potent pair that you can wear to your casual or professional matches, you need to choose what will fit the best with your gameplay and the court requirements.

Identify Your Play Style 

The first three types of basketball shoes merely classify based on the playing style they are most suited to support. Post players, who mostly grind in the paint zone, require basketball shoes with high-tops. The elongated back of the shoes will provide them with added ankle stability while they jostle around the basket. 

Post players are also involved in jumping and landing, and high-tops with extra support will help them do just that. Low-top design is ideal for a point guard who’s more into ball-handling because they’re often expected to propel the ball up the ground, especially on the fast break.

Low-tops will help these players to move’ run, and juke all around the court with no discomfort. All-around players who may switch between a forward and a guard, someone who plays under the basket and then moves back to whip over a pass, will find mid-tops as their faithful companions.

Court Requirements

Not any high-top, mid-top, or low-top shoe can become the star of the show in every type of court. Instead, different court types require different types of basketball shoes to help players attain great performance. 

While people are mostly used to watching shiny marble floors used for basketball games, the play is more commonly held on rugged terrains, for instance, concrete, grass, and dusty courts. To fit perfectly with the different terrain, basketball shoes are categorized into indoor and outdoor basketball shoes

To cope up with the extended amount of wear and tear rendered by not-too-smooth courts, outdoor basketball shoes come with heavy tractions, added comfort and a more solid build than indoor shoes.  

Hence if you are more into playing on rugged surfaces, choose whatever type fits your play style the most but make sure the pair has special tractions, durable construction and absolute comfort for your feet. 

The table below briefly compares outdoor sneakers and indoor sneakers.  

Outdoor Basketball Shoes

Indoor Basketball Shoes 


Tough and Thick Outsole

Fragile and Thin Outsole

Tread and Traction

Large Tread Patterns, Provides Good Grip and Lateral Support on Rough Surface 

Scattered Circular Spot Shaped Patterns,  Provides Good Grip on Smooth and Flat Surface

Material and Durability 

Synthetic Material for Body (mostly polyester), Thick Rubber for Sole. Very Durable and Heavy

Natural Material for Body (mostly Leather), Natural Rubber for Sole. Lightweight and Less Durable


Thicker Insoles and Lateral Wall with Mesh-Lined Key Zones  

Thinner Insoles and Lateral Walls. 

Ankle Support

Medium to High Ankle Support 

Usually, Come With High Ankle Support 

Recommended Products 

Where to Buy
Reebok Men's Bb4500 Hi 2 Sneaker: Best High-Top Basketball Shoes 
Adidas Men's Vs Hoops Mid 2.0: Best Mid-Top Basketball Shoes  
Nike Men's Air Mavin Low Basketball Shoe: Best Low-Top Basketball Shoes 
PEAK Streetball Master: Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

1. Reebok Men's Bb4500 Hi 2 Sneaker: Best High-Top Basketball Shoes 

If your position is power center or forward, you must be aggressive and in charge, and only high-tops can help you do that. The Reebok Men's Bb4500 Hi 2 Sneaker are the ideal high-top basketball shoes that can handle quick rebounds and extreme action around the hoop. Reebok Men's Bb4500 Hi 2 Sneaker Best High-Top Basketball Shoes  The overall leg backing that you receive from the shoes is outstanding, with adequate padding making it shock-absorbent. Despite being a high-top, Reebok seems to break the tradition and has made its shoes pretty lightweight. They also have grippy 360-degree traction and house a potent Air Zoom Unit.  The built elements used on the Bb4500 Hi 2 are mesh upper and leather, making for an excellent combination of breathability and support. The perforated tongue also strengthens its breathability. The outsole, however, comprises highly abraded rubber.  The Bb4500 Hi 2 can run slightly narrow; thus, we recommend choosing half a size bigger. If you have broad feet, consider choosing one size bigger.


  • Great for power-center players 
  • Massive support for the ankle
  • Enhanced breathability 


  • Restricts fluidity in movement 

2. Adidas Men's Vs Hoops Mid 2.0: Best Mid-Top Basketball Shoes  

https://www.amazon.com/adidas-Mens-Hoops-White-Black/dp/B071P11MNB/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=mid%2Btop%2Bbasketball%2Bshoes&qid=1629037236&sprefix=midtop%2Bbasketball%2Bshoes&sr=8-3&th=1&psc=1 Well built and sporting a vintage aesthetic characteristic of classic basketball shoe designs, the Adidas Hoops VS Mid 2.0 is an excellent all-around mid-top style option for men. It’s supportive, comfortable, and looks trendy, and on top of that, it retails at a much pocket-friendly cost than many similar shoes.  The shoe offers outstanding support across the whole foot, meaning the wearer can focus more on scoring big rather than fretting over foot sprains. Though the back-ankle support is not as high as the best high-top basketball shoes discussed above, Adidas Hoops VS Mod 2.0 will give you great flexibility without compromising the overall aid.  The comfort level is also massive, with this shoe enclosing your feet like a glove. Hoops VS Mid 2.0 are synthetic shoes carrying a solid rubber sole at the bottom, meaning that you can wear them on rugged surfaces without having to worry about spoiling them.


  • Vintage Style design 
  • Ideal for all-round players
  • Thick rubber outsole
  • Provides a good balance between flexibility and comfort


  • Just enough ankle support 

3. Nike Men's Air Mavin Low Basketball Shoe: Best Low-Top Basketball Shoes 

https://www.amazon.com/Nike-Maven-Basketball-Black-Platinum/dp/B006H6GSM0/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=low+top+basketball+shoes&qid=1629048295&sr=8-6  Men’s Nike Air Mavin Low Basketball Shoes integrates light and breathable upper with a modular midsole style that provides excellent court feel and low-profile cushioning. The cushioning done on the inner sole is designed to assist with first-step speed and instance direction changes. Overall, these shoes are best for players who modify their play style and prefer to twist and turn on the court with comfort. This is allowed mainly because the Lightweight textile is bonded over a thin layer of breathable mesh to develop structure and support in critical areas. 


  • Offers great fluidity
  • Lightweight design 
  • Breathable construction material


  • Lacks support for the ankle 

4. PEAK Streetball Master: Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes

PEAK Streetball Master Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes This very magnificent Lou William's signature by PEAK is an excellent choice for anyone who doesn't want just any mid-top shoes but comfortable, most durable basketball shoes for the outdoors. The shoe has unique materials and a reinforced seamless weaving, boosting performance on rough surfaces or wet weather. Peak fights the harshness of outdoor courts through its ample cushion and unified padding. You also get a ton of support to assist in combat potential ankle sprains. As with many great shoes, they also look incredible. The only downside, however, is that PEAK is not a very famous brand.  Keeping Streetball Master's great performance in mind, PEAK's unpopularity is not a big issue but might divert people towards more known brands. 


  • Outstanding mid-top sneakers
  • Ideal traction for rugged surfaces
  • Decent cushioning


  • Unpopular brand 


Basketball, as a sport, is extremely thrilling and extra intense in actions like no other sport. To accompany you through this excitement and excel in performance, It’s important that you quickly get to the best fitting shoe type. 

As each type of shoe fulfills distinct objectives, everything at the end narrows down to an individual’s personal preferences and requirements. We have tried our best to touch every necessary aspect to help you get to the ideal shoe type, but if you are still confused, we’ll recommend going with PEAK’s Streetball Master. 

Though these NBA Star’s signature shoes are a dedicated pick for outdoor basketball players, they are likewise outstanding mid-tops and offer great traction for slippery courts too. Conclusively, whatever you decide, get shoes that look amazing, are good for your health, and improve your game.